Stoke & Staffordshire

Wedgwood collection 'saved for nation'

Items from the Wedgwood collection Image copyright Wedgwood Museum
Image caption A deadline of 30 November had been set to raise the £15.75m needed to buy the 80,000-piece collection

The Wedgwood Museum collection has been "saved for the nation" after reaching its £15.75m target in a month.

The collection features 80,000 works of art, ceramics, manuscripts, letters and photographs.

It faced being sold to help pay off the pottery firm's pension bill, inherited by Wedgwood Museum after Waterford Wedgwood plc collapsed in 2009.

The collection is expected to remain on display at the museum in Barlaston, Staffordshire.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and a number of smaller trusts have contributed £13m, while a public appeal, including donations from businesses, has raised a further £2.74m since it launched at the start of last month.

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said the Save Wedgwood appeal had been the fastest fundraising campaign in the charity's 111-year history, reaching its target almost two months before its deadline.

He said it demonstrated "nothing less than a national passion for Wedgwood".

"Together we've ensured that one of the most important collections in the world can continue to be enjoyed by all," he said.

Image copyright Wedgwood Museum
Image caption Josiah Wedgwood's Portland Vase is one of the centrepieces to the collection

Tristram Hunt, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, described the collection as "perhaps the most compelling account of British industrial, social and design history anywhere in the world".

"I'm extremely pleased that this treasure trove will now remain intact, in Staffordshire and on display to the public as Wedgwood himself would have wanted," he said.

The collection will be gifted to the Victoria and Albert Museum, with plans to loan it to the Wedgwood Museum.

It is expected to go on display in a new visitor centre, part of a £34m redevelopment of the Barlaston site, set to open in spring 2015.

Wedgwood

  • The pottery firm was founded in Etruria, Staffordshire, by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759
  • The first museum opened in 1906 and the collection remained on public display at the factory until the start of World War Two
  • Wedgwood moved its factory to Barlaston in 1940
  • The company merged with Irish brand Waterford Crystal in the 1980s to create Waterford Wedgwood
  • It had debts of about £400m when it went into administration in January 2009
Image copyright Wedgwood Museum
Image caption The collection will be gifted to the V&A Museum but is expected to remain on display in Staffordshire
Image copyright Wedgwood Museum
Image caption The collection will be housed in a new visitors' centre in Barlaston
Image copyright Wedgwood Museum
Image caption Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said "Britain united to save this collection"

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